Nelsonville-York volleyball
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Carson Francis

Carson is an aspiring journalist and a student at Ohio University's E.W. Scripps School of Journalism. He's a lifelong fan of all things Reds, Bengals and Buckeyes, and has seen the game through the eyes of a player, fan and reporter.

Nelsonville-York sweeps Athens,  stands alone atop TVC standings

The Buckeyes have now won 10 straight games.

Carson Francis, Staff Writer

Southern Ohio Sports Authority is presented by OhioHealth.

THE PLAINS — Nelsonville-York has been extremely dominant this season.

Dropping just five sets throughout the entirety of 14 matches, the Buckeyes have bolted out of the gates to a 12-1 start — with their last seven wins being sweeps.

The latest in that seven-sweep streak came on Tuesday in a straight-set win over TVC-Ohio rival Athens.

“It was a complete team effort,” Nelsonville head coach Wayne Dicken said. “The first set was really tight, but we were able to make a nice comeback, and I’m proud of the way the girls stepped up and played tonight.”

Nelsonville-York’s Macey Call celebrates with coaches and teammates during the Buckeyes’ win over Athens in TVC action on Tuesday.
CREDIT: Carissa Nickel/SOSA

Both teams went blow for blow in the early goings, with neither finding much separation. Just as Athens jumped out to an 11-8 advantage, Nelsonville-York quickly took momentum back, going out in front 14-11 going into an Athens timeout.

The Bulldogs didn’t go down quietly, however, as they fought their way back and tied things up at 20-20, thanks to Sofia Smith setting up Ava Williams and Caitlyn Hayes on back-to-back plays.

The back-and-forth style continued and eventually went into the game’s 51st set, tied at 25-25. That’s when NY’s Megan Booth set up a kill to Chloe Lehman just before a service error from Athens gave the Buckeyes a 27-25 first-set win. 

They never looked back.

“After the first set, [coach] Dicken ripped us a little bit for how we played,” Booth said. “We kept it up from there by being positive and being there for each other.”

There wasn’t a single doubt that Booth was, indeed, there for her teammates.

With the Buckeyes trailing 10-7 early in the second, the senior dished out three assists in a row — two to Lehman and another to Kyleigh Warren — to knot it up at 10-10. From there, NY continued scoring and capped off an 8-1 run with Booth dishing it to Macey Call for a kill, putting the Buckeyes up 15-11.

“I think it’s safe to say that Megan [Booth] is the key to our defense and offense,” Buckeyes libero Lyndsey Spencer said. “She runs everything, and we honestly wouldn’t be the team that we are without her.”

Still, Athens would not go away.

Following a timeout, the Bulldogs fired back and cut the deficit to one, as Smith connected with Williams to make it a 17-16 tally. But that would turn out to be the last point the Bulldogs would muster during the set.

The Buckeyes answered by ending the set on an 8-0 run — capped by a Booth-Warren connection — and took the set by a 25-16 final.

“[Dicken] knew we had more potential than what we did in the first set,” Kyleigh Warren said. “We all knew that we could play better, so that’s what we did in the second set.”

“I thought we started off with a lot of confusion,” Dicken said. “We started communicating more. Lyndsey Spencer did a great job directing back row traffic, and our front row started getting good touches on the ball. That carried over a lot of momentum for us.”

Nelsonville-York went into the third looking to put the nails in the coffin, and they did just that.

Highlighted by four aces from Booth, the Buckeyes jumped out to an early 11-1 lead. That proved to be the dagger as the Buckeyes cruised to a 25-14 win and finished off the sweep of their county rival, keeping themselves in first place in the TVC-Ohio by a two-game advantage. 

“My success comes from my back row giving me good passes,” Booth said. “My hitters have been amazing.”

The Buckeyes now await Vinton County — whom they swept on Aug. 29 — at home on Thursday, while Athens looks to get back on track at home against Logan. 

“I always tell our team that every league game, we have a target on our back,” Dicken said. “We won the league last year, and we’re in first place right now. Every team’s going to bring their best every night. We have to be sure to rise up to the challenge and not let them hit that target.”


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